TBR pile for summer

A few months ago, I spent two weeks reading through books from my own bookshelves. I wanted to do that again so I’m going to do that for a few weeks this summer as well. Just so that I can knock down the number of unread books that I own!

Here are some of the books that I’ll be working through over the rest of the summer.





Some of these books are first-time reads for me, and the others are re-reads.

First-time reads:

Hot Milk  by Deborah Levy

What Alice Forgot  by Liane Moriarty

-Deafening  by Franses Itani

The Translator  by Daoud Hari

First Frost  by Sarah Addison Allen

Mossflower  by Brian Jacques


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire  by J.K. Rowling

Anne of the Island  by L.M. Montgomery

The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew  and The Last Battle  by C.S. Lewis

Have you read any of these? Please comment below if you have!!!


Come From Away

Come From Away  by Genevieve Graham

This is the second book by Genevieve Graham that I’ve read, and I was pleased to read this continuation of the story of the Baker family that began in Tides of Honour. This book focuses on Danny and Audrey’s daughter Grace who is living with her parents and running a store, while her three brothers are involved in the navy and army during WWII.


Here’s the Goodreads description: “In the fall of 1939, Grace Baker’s three brothers, sharp and proud in their uniforms, board Canadian ships headed for a faraway war. Grace stays behind, tending to the homefront and the general store that helps keep her small Nova Scotian community running. The war, everyone says, will be over before it starts. But three years later, the fighting rages on and rumours swirl about “wolf packs” of German U-Boats lurking in the deep waters along the shores of East Jeddore, a stone’s throw from Grace’s window. As the harsh realities of war come closer to home, Grace buries herself in her work at the store. Then, one day, a handsome stranger ventures into the store. He claims to be a trapper come from away, and as Grace gets to know him, she becomes enamoured by his gentle smile and thoughtful ways. But after a several weeks, she discovers that Rudi, her mysterious visitor, is not the lonely outsider he appears to be, but someone else entirely—someone not to be trusted. When a shocking truth about her family forces Grace to question everything she has so strongly believed, she realizes that she and Rudi have more in common than she had thought. And if Grace is to have a chance at love, she must not only choose a side, but take a stand.

I enjoyed this book because of the Canadian content and it was an interesting premise for the story-line. In it, characters explore their feelings towards the Germans with whom they’re at war during WWII. It’s an issue that our world today is still dealing with; these same feelings towards people from certain countries and stereotyping those people by a few ‘bad eggs’ so to speak. I was glad to see how the story resolved itself.

*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 1/13!!

The End of Your Life Book Club

The End of Your Life Book Club  by Will Schwalbe

The inspiring story of a son and his dying mother, who form a ‘book club’ that brings them together as her life comes to a close.
Mary Anne Schwalbe is waiting for her chemotherapy treatments when Will casually asks her what she’s reading. The conversation they have grows into tradition: soon they are reading the same books so they can have something to talk about in the hospital waiting room. The ones they choose range from classic to popular, from fantastic to spiritual, and we hear their passion for reading and their love for each other in their intimate and searching discussions.
” (Goodreads)

I recently read this book, only because it was about a book club. My reasons for reading this had nothing to do with the content (a woman dying of cancer), but it was wonderful to read of this relationship between mother and son as they spend time talking about the books they’ve read together and discuss everything else that mothers and sons talk about. It wasn’t all just talking about books, Mary Anne’s cancer journey was also included in the pages.

I always got a bit of a thrill when the book mentioned a book I have read, so of course I made a list of those (with some help from the Appendix at the end of the book): The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien, People of the Book and March by Geraldine Brooks, The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and Night by Elie Wiesel.

One of Mary Anne’s habits is reading the ending of books right away so that she always knows what’s going to happen. This is something I’ve never done and I don’t think I could ever do. I love being surprised or entertained by a book in the order in which the author published the story. I love trying to guess along the way what might  happen and then finding out whether or not I’m correct. Does anyone else read the ending of books first? If so, I’m curious as to why people do this! Please share and comment!

One thing my kids love to do is READ!!! This I love because reading and books are very near and very dear to my heart. My eldest has encouraged me to read several books that he’s read in school this year, and it’s been so much fun reading these and then talking about them with him. In a way, we have our own book club too and I want to continue this as my kids get older! Books are a way to connect with others and I love connecting with my kids in this way.

2 books on the Underground Railroad theme

I happened to read, back to back, two books that were on my TBR list. Both books were about the Underground Railroad. I didn’t plan on reading this book around the same time, and usually I avoid reading too many things about the same topic at the same time, but it was really interesting to read these two stories from two very different perspectives.

The first book was The Last Runaway  by Tracy Chevalier, the story of Honor Bright, a Quaker woman from England who moves to America and gets involved in the Underground Railroad. It was interesting to read about this woman who, against her family’s wishes, becomes involved in the Underground Railroad. Here’s part of a synopsis: “[D]rawn into the clandestine activities of the Underground Railroad, a network helping runaway slaves escape to freedom, Honor befriends two surprising women who embody the remarkable power of defiance. Eventually she must decide if she too can act on what she believes in, whatever the personal costs. A powerful journey brimming with color and drama, [this book] is Tracy Chevalier’s vivid engagement with an iconic part of American history.” (Goodreads). This was a really great read, and I read it quite quickly…I just had to find out what happened and how and what Honor chooses to do!

The second book was The Underground Railroad  written by Colson Whitehead and is told from the perspective (mostly) of Cora, a slave who attempts to escape and benefits from people helping her through the Underground Railroad. This was another excellent story dealing with the Railroad and the author’s take on one woman’s journey to freedom. As difficult as it sometimes was to read about the treatment of African-Americans, it’s unfathomable to me that people could be and were treated like that!!! “As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.” (Goodreads).

I’d recommend both of these books for those who are interested in history and specifically the Underground Railroad. Must-reads!!!

The Canadian Book Challenge

Last year I participated in the Canadian Book Challenge! This Challenge is very manageable in that you have to read at least 13 books that are Canadian (authors, setting, etc). It’s that simple!

Melwyk, over at The Indextrious Reader is running this Challenge so HERE is where you can find a link to her post for all of the sign up details and info. It’s a great challenge to undertake and I’m already signed up for this next year…starting July 1st, 2018! Yay for Canadian books!!!!

Here are the books I read for this past year’s Canadian Book Challenge (a few more than 13…there’s no limit!!):

The Right to Be Cold: One Woman’s Story of Protecting her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet  by Sheila Watt-Cloutier

The Illegal  by Lawrence Hill

150 Years of Stats Canada!: A Guide to Canada’s Greatest Country  by The Experts behind the Twitter sensation @stats_canada (aka Julia Davidovich, Andrew Bondy, Thomas Eric Taylor, Samantha Montgomery)

The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir  by Joseph Auguste Merasty with David Carpenter

Anne of Avonlea  by Lucy Maud Montgomery

419 by Will Ferguson

Eyefoods: A Food Plan for Healthy Eyes  by Dr. Laurie Capogna, OD & Dr. Barbara Pelletier, OD

Tides of Honour by Genevieve Graham

Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations  by Richard Wagamese

Black Apple  by Joan Crate

The Firebird  by Susanna Kearsley

Lifting Hearts Off the Ground: Declaring Indigenous Rights in Poetry by Lyla June Johnston & Joy De Vito

The Unquiet Dead  by Ausma Zehanat Khan

Indian Horse  by Richard Wagamese

An Orange from Portugal: Christmas Stories from the Maritimes and Newfoundland  edited by Anne Simpson

Stolen Sisters: An Inquiry into Feminicide in Canada by Emmanuelle Walter

The Prison Book Club by Ann Walmsley

They Called Me Number One  by Bev Sellars

Swing Low: A Life  by Miriam Toews

North End Love Songs by Katherena Vermette

There were some really great books in this list, and a combination of fiction and non-fiction. Approximately seven of them were involving Indigenous and First Nations fiction and non-fiction.

Join me as we read our way through Canada!!

Great books for summer reading

Decided to put together a mini reading list of ideas for anyone looking for some books to read this summer.

Amy Snow by Tracy Rees. A great story wrapped up in letters and a scavenger hunt! Amy is abandoned as a baby and found by her saviour and advocate Aurelia, heiress to a vast fortune and estate. After Aurelia dies, Amy is left on her own…or is she? Aurelia leaves for Amy a coded key and a treasure hunt that only Amy can unlock.

A really lovely story, even if it was slightly predictable.




Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak. An interesting story about a family that is quarantined for a week or so over Christmas, and all of the things that come up and people who show up at the house. An interesting look at some cabin fever, and family secrets that come out into the open!






The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. This was a great little book, only 124 pages so an easy one to read within a day! It’s about the Queen discovering a mobile library on the Palace grounds and she soon signs out a book and starts spending more and more time reading. It’s a fun little read! Great for all those royalists!!





Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase. This is a great book for fans of Kate Morton!!!! An excellent story and I could barely put it down!!! It’s a “novel of wrenching family secrets, forbidden love, and heartbreaking loss housed within the grand gothic manor of Black Rabbit Hall.”

I could hardly put this one down!!!!!





The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon. A great story!!!!! “It is 1968. Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are locked away in an institution. Deeply in love, they escape, and find refuge in the farmhouse of Martha. But…Lynnie has just given birth to a baby girl. When the authorities catch up to them that same night, Homan escapes into the darkness, and Lynnie is caught. But before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers two words to Martha: “Hide her.” And so begins the 40-year epic journey of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia-lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.” (Goodreads)

So, just a few titles to get you started on your summer reading!!! Let me know what you think of these if you’ve read them! Or, if you’ll be adding them to your To Be Read List!!!

Happy Reading!!

North End Love Songs

North End Love Songs by Katherena Vermette

This is a book of poetry by Katherena Vermette, Métis writer of poetry and fiction. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Having spent a few years studying in the city of Winnipeg, I still have some ties to that city: friends who live there, and a former university which I attended. Reading this book, “so far away” from Winnipeg, brought me just a little bit closer to the city where I made many great memories with some pretty amazing people.

Here’s the description from the back cover of the book: “For Katherena Vermette, Winnipeg’s North End is a neighbourhood of colourful birds, stately elms, and always wily rivers. It is where a brother’s disappearance is trivialized by local media and police because he is young and aboriginal. It is also where young girls share secrets, movies, cigarettes, Big Gulps and stories of love – where a young mother full of both maternal trepidation and joy watches her small daughters as they play in the park.”

This is a powerful read, both for those familiar with Winnipeg and anyone not familiar with Winnipeg. It’s words we can ready anywhere and apply to anywhere, but holds a special place in the city in which it takes place. We can find inspiration and pain in the words of the poet. Words of inspiration such as the last few words of the poem “redbird”:

her lithe feet/so light/no one/would be surprised/if she really did/take flight” (p 29)

Or words of pain, experienced all too often in families across the country, with words such as the entirety of the poem entitled “lost”…and many others in the book:

her brother is missing/like a glove/or a sock/or a set of keys/gone” (p 74)

If you’re at all interested in Canadian poetry, I’d encourage you to give this one a try! Read through the poems slowly and carefully and let the words sit with you.

*My progress for this Canadian Book Challenge is 20/13!!